Dubai passes first deficit-free budget since crisis

DUBAI (AFP) - Dubai announced Saturday adoption of a balanced budget for 2015, the first time there has been no shortfall since the global financial crisis.

Spending and revenues are both projected at 41 billion dirhams (S$14.8 billion), according to an official statement cited by the official WAM news agency.

Spending is set at 9 per cent higher, while revenues are projected to be up 11 per cent.

Dubai is one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates. Its non-oil economy has posted budget deficits since 2009 after being hit hard by the global financial crisis and debt problems before being bailed out by fellow emirate Abu Dhabi.

The director of Dubai's finance department, Abdulrahman al-Saleh, said 6 per cent of spending, or US$670 million (S$892 million), is tagged for servicing an estimated US$80 billion in debt.

About 37 per cent of spending is allocated for wages and salaries and another 44 per cent for administrative and public expenditures, capital spending, grants and subsidies, Saleh said.

The remaining 13 per cent is for infrastructure projects, he said.

Tax revenue is projected to rise 12 per cent to make up 21 per cent of total revenues.

Unlike other Gulf states and sister emirate Abu Dhabi, oil income is projected to contribute only 4 per cent of Dubai's revenues, Saleh said.

Dubai's economy depends on real estate, tourism and hospitality.

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